Trump dropped US commitment to “two-state solution” to Israeli-Palestinian conflict
US is ditching its long-term support for a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to comments made by president Trump at a news conference with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
The “two-state solution” to the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a goal supported both by Israel (with some conditions attached) and Palestine.
It is the shorthand for a final settlement that would see the creation of an independent state of Palestine within pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, living peacefully alongside Israel.
The UN, the Arab League, the European Union, Russia and, until now, the US have routinely restated their commitment to the concept.
A peace deal has eluded the sides so far, what with terrorist attacks which Israel has blamed on Palestinians on the one hand, and the Palestinian presidency’s protests over Israel’s construction of settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories on the other.
“I’m looking at two states and one state, and I like the one both parties like,” Trump said at the conference. “I can live with either one.”
“To be honest, if Bibi [Mr Netanyahu] and the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy – I’m happy with the one they like the best.”
Trump vowed to work toward a peace deal between Israel and Palestinians but said it would require compromise on both sides. He urged Netanyahu to hold off on settlement building.
Israel greenlighted construction of thousands of new dwellings on the West Bank soon after Trump had been sworn in as US president. His predecessor was known to oppose new settlements.
When he was asked about the two-state solution, Benjamin Netanyahu said he wanted to focus on “substance” and not “labels”.
“There are two prerequisites for peace,” said the Israeli prime minister. “First the Palestinians must recognise the Jewish state.
“Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River.”
This was the first time the two leaders had met since Trump’s victory in the 2016 election.
His comments marking a retreat from what had long been a bedrock of White House’s Middle East policy supported by both Republicans and Democrats have met with concern from Palestinian officials.
Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said: “This is not a responsible policy and it does not serve the cause of peace.”